WOW: 14th August - Deadlifts
I was first introduced to deadlifts when I began weight training about two years ago. My trainer at the time told me that if I was to pick two exercises and only ever do those two, it should be squats and deadlifts. While I would encourage you to have a little more variety in your workouts, he was onto something - deadlifts really are an incredibly effective full body exercise. They may sound a little scary, especially if you are new to using weights but if you start small and work your way up with good posture, this little move can work wonders for your body. It works the whole posterior chain, so all of the muscles in the back of your body. Form is absolutely crucial with deadlifts, as with any exercise, in order to reduce the risk of injury. When you are using weights, you need to think about protecting your body and lifting safely without putting unintended stress on your joints and muscles. To begin, it is best to work in front of a mirror and practise a few repetitions without any weight until you feel comfortable.
Start with your fee hip-width apart behind a barbell. Squat down and take the bar, gripping just outside of your legs. You can use an overhand grip or alternate - one overhand, one underhand. DON'T LIFT JUST YET! Now check your spine; it should be flat and neutral with your gaze just in front of your toes rather than looking in the mirror (except to check your form momentarily) and your shoulder blades should be bad and down your back. Your aim, is to lift the bar to the thighs at a height where your arms are straight. When you lift the bar, it should gently touch your legs the whole time, using your hips to hinge. You lower the bar back down again with a micro bend in the knees - there is no need to go all the way down, but just so the weight plates are close to the floor.
I've scoured the internet for a video demonstrating good form and think this one shows it well, especially for beginners as it shows form without using a weight:
Once you have got the hang of the range of motion, start by doing 3-5 sets of 6 reps with a weight that feels comfortable. You can then build this up once your form is correct.